A former Houston Texans employee accused the team of discrimination in a federal complaint, alleging recently fired general manager Brian Gaine "targeted" African-American employees, USA Today reported Thursday. Jeff Pope was the team's security coordinator until he was fired on May 8. In a 4,500-word filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, he alleges he is one of nine African-Americans fired by Gaine since the team named him GM in January 2018.
The Texans abruptly fired Gaine last Friday. Chairman and CEO Cal McNair said Gaine was being let go after "a thorough evaluation of our football operations." Amy Palcic, a team spokeswoman, told The Houston Chronicle that Pope's complaint "was not a factor in the recent decision to relieve Brian Gaine from his job as general manager."
The team also issued a statement: "We have just been made aware of Mr. Pope's claim. We do not comment on pending litigation. The Houston Texans do not tolerate personal or professional discrimination of any kind." Pope, in his filing, pointed the finger at Gaine. "It appeared, and I believe, that he was targeting all minorities in leadership positions and was set to replace them with non-African-Americans. Which he did," Pope wrote in the complaint, which was obtained by USA Today.
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